In honor of National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 14, we want to help offer some advice to help your furry friend shed some extra pounds. But before you start making any drastic changes to your pet’s lifestyle, losing weight must be done in a healthy manner. Our team here at Northwood Hills Animal Hospital has put together these five simple steps to help your pooch lose some weight.


#1: Cut back on the dog treats

Did you know your dog’s treat rations should comprise only 10% of their total daily caloric intake? Although turning down those puppy-dog eyes begging for a handful of potato chips is tough, it’s in your dog’s best interest. If you can’t resist giving your dog a treat, skip the fat- and calorie-laden junk foods and stick to healthy options, like fresh veggies and small pieces of lean meat. 


#2: Measure your dog’s food

Be honest—are you one of the many pet owners guilty of filling up your dog’s food dish when it’s empty, or dumping in a “cup” of food whenever your pooch appears hungry? This often leads to vastly overfed dogs. Instead, calculate the calories your dog needs each day, and divide that number into meals, measuring the portions correctly.  


#3: Increase your dog’s daily activity

Does your pup’s daily routine consist of eating and keeping a spot on the couch warm? If so, it’s time to lace up your running shoes or hiking boots and take your dog outdoors. While indoors, you can toss your pooch a ball down the hallway, let them play with a stuffed toy, and use puzzle feeders instead of food dishes to encourage more activity. 


#4: Show how much you love your dog without food

We often replace love and attention with food and treats, but your dog would be equally happy with a walk around the block, a soothing grooming session, or an interactive game. 


#5: Consult your veterinarian for help creating a diet and exercise plan for your dog

Despite your best efforts at cutting back on treats and increasing exercise, your pudgy pooch may fail to lose weight. Overweight dogs who have difficulty shedding those extra pounds may suffer from metabolic disease, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. In addition to treating metabolic conditions, we can recommend prescription diets and healthy weight loss goals for your pet. 


Always remember that you should consult with your veterinarian about any lifestyle changes for your pet. Please contact us to schedule an appointment.